Photo: Granma

Granma spoke with double Olympic gold medalist and five-time World Champion Mijaín López - the iron giant – one of Cuba’s top athletes in recent years and chosen as standard-bearer for the Cuban Olympic team for a third time, just hors before he set off on training tour around Europe where he will compete in various competitions in Poland, Germany and Spain.

Shortly before the interview, the wrestler from Pinar del Rio had just ended a six minute fight without breaking a sweat. A bout which - on the instruction of his coaches - he let play out to full time, and on any other occasion could have finished in a few seconds.

Your coaches have noted that you're in great shape…

Training is going quite well, this has been a good year, I already participated in the German League, where I had to fight against those in my exact weight category, something I’d never done before.

I also competed in the National Wrestling Championship and participated on a 20-day tour of Azerbaijan, where I executed by favorite moves more often against different opponents of my weight, something I’m not able to do here in Cuba.

I’ve also been working to strengthen my upper and lower body, its necessary training and something which I haven’t done for a long time. So right now I feel in optimum form and I’ll go to the Olympic Games feeling calm.

How do you manage your work-rest routine?

This is something I have focused on a great deal, together with my coaches. At other times I’ve arrived at competitions without having had enough rest, but this is the year of the Olympic Games, and I’ll do it, because it the most eagerly-awaited event.

Tell us about your wrestling style…
Above allI like standing combat and the all fours position. I’ve been changing my tactics a bit after so many years competing in finals, because everyone watches the videos, so it’s good to change a few things in order to be less predictable.
How do you rate the opponents in your weight division looking toward Río?
The opponents are almost the same as the ones I faced at the World Championships in Las Vegas 2015, where I finished second. I known them well, I just need arrive there well prepared, injury-free, the rest will be decided on the mat. Will it be harder to win gold at these Olympics than the previous editions?
I don’t think it will be easy to win gold, people think I feel under pressure but I don’t, I’m going to go to these Olympic Games to enjoy them. Winning gold would be the best, but any medal, no matter the color, would make me very happy, although I’ll always go for the gold.
Will you continue wrestling after these Olympics?
No, no, no, after these Olympics that will be it, I’ve got to rest and think of other plans.